This is one of those unusual medieval names which can have several origins. It is a developed form either of "Matthew" through its shortened form of "May" or likewise from "Michael" and its short forms of "Mich" or "Mick". Both "Michael" and "Matthew" were names unknown in England before the 1066 Norman Invasion and are usually associated with the Crusades. The first recording of any type would seem to be (from Matthew); William Mai of Norfolk in 1167 and (from Michael); Adam Miche of Huntingdon in 1279.The later developments include Mize, Mice, Mess, Mias, Mays, Mease (see below), Measse and Meace, James Meace being a witness at Cumberworth, Denby Dale (formerly Dikeside Wesleyan) Church on January 29th 1804. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Barbary Mease, which was dated November 9th 1568, married William Pickard at Ingleby Greenhow, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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